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Cupcakes for a Cause: Teens Who Bake for Charity

Best-Selling Cupcake Recipe
Leanne Youstra and Margaret Quinn making cupcakes
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Malek Naz Freidouni

Leanne and Margaret offer seven varieties at their sales, but this recipe is always the best seller.

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes and Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

Makes 22 to 24 cupcakes and 3 1/2 cups of frosting

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 12-capacity cupcake pans with paper liners.
2. Combine 1 box (18.25 ounces) white cake mix, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted unsalted butter, 3 large eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down side of bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping side again if needed. Using a standard ice cream scoop, fill each liner two-thirds full.
3. Bake cupcakes at 350 degrees F until they are golden brown and spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool cupcakes in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes.
4. Remove cupcakes directly to the wire racks and cool completely, 30 minutes more. Meanwhile, place 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened unsalted butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, or until fluffy. Stop the mixer and add 3 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Blend with mixer on low until sugar is incorporated, 1 minute. Increase speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 1 minute more. Blend in up to 1 additional tablespoon milk if frosting seems too stiff. Spread onto cooled cupcakes.

Bake Sale Tips

Bring in the dough with these smart start-up tips.

  • Ask for input. "Know what you like to make, and what your family and friends enjoy. It's almost guaranteed to be the top seller," Leanne suggests.
  • The more the merrier. Encourage classmates and friends to pitch in and be there for moral support.
  • Publicize your event. Use social media and GABS's online Bake Sale Resource Center to get the word out.
  • Host your sale in a familiar place. "People were more receptive at the church, where they knew us and our families, than at an elementary school where we had no personal connection," Leanne says.